Friday, November 20, 2009

As Cold as Charity

"If we had a proper society there'd be no need for charity." Discuss.

Yes, it sounds like an essay question, but it was the Communist's firm belief and hence he didn't believe in giving to charity. He said it only propped up the badly-funded system. If we as a society really cared about the poor then there'd be no need for charity.

I have to say he had a point. That old saying, "As cold as charity" - yes, institutional charity is often given out in a grudging, mean-spirited way - - or in a way that makes the person giving feel important.

Today is the annual Children in Need day in Britain which every year raises millions of pounds for - you guessed it - children in need.

Yesterday I was listening to an auction on the radio of various events, "things that money can't buy" - all in aid of Children in Need. People were bidding many thousands of pounds.

I know I should be glad that such children will be helped - - and I am! - but it seems to me slightly incongruous and ironic that someone bids £24,000 for a meal cooked by the chef Raymond Blanc so that some poor children can have something more than a bag of crisps for their dinner.

And even though it's for charity, there's something I don't like about people spending thousands and thousands on luxury events. I feel it's somehow wrong.

I feel, I suppose, that, at bottom, rather than being proud of raising so much money for Children in Need, we should be heartily ashamed that in this relatively rich country, in the year 2009, there are children in need at all.

And I think that what many of us do is cough up once a year and then forget about it for the rest of the time - - secure in the knowledge that, in giving a few bob, we've done our bit.

Papering over the cracks, of course. Have I any solutions? No, and I admire the huge fund-raising efforts that are going on today. But I think we're doing it wrong.


Anonymous Milo said...

I think charity for the arts is a good idea. But you're right, the government should have eradicated child poverty by now and shouldn't need to rely on celebrities pulling stunts to help deal with such a big problem. Is the same with soldiers and all these war charities. They guys put their life on the line, came back maimed and shell-shocked, yet much of the time are reliant on small charities to support them. Is terrible.

8:40 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Milo - I agree. Wounded soldiers reliant upon support from jumble sales - - it's ridiculous!

8:42 am  
Blogger Von said...

Heartily agree...I would have liked your Dad I think!
We have a saying out here "You never hear of the Defences Forces having a chook raffle for a new submarine/fighter/aircraft carrier."
Fund raising has to happen so often for things that should never be happening in a so called democratic welfare state.

10:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wondered why air ambulances, hospices, cancer nurses and lifeboats (to name but a few) are funded through charities...

Watching how little money makes such a difference on the Secret Millionaire, for example, makes you wonder where all our taxes are actually going.


9:29 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

It bothers me to no end that our country keeps raising money for the 'poor kids somewhere else'. We've got starving kids here...not sure why we can't give to them!

5:29 pm  

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